Delay discounting refers to the decline in the present value of an outcome as a function of the delay to its receipt. Research on delay discounting initially focused on substance abuse, generally finding that greater delay discounting is associated with increased risk for and severity of substance abuse. More recently, delay discounting has been linked theoretically and empirically to affective psychopathology, potentially suggesting novel intervention targets for mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Longitudinal research consequently is critical to determine direction of causality and rule out possible third variable explanations. Only a small number of longitudinal studies have been conducted in this area, however. Furthermore, socio-economic and socio-cultural factors may influence delay discounting and its effects, but thus far the literature is relatively limited in this regard. The present study focused on adolescence, a key time-period for development of delay discounting and emotional problems. Longitudinal relations between delay discounting, and depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed among 414 adolescents in Vietnam, a lower-middle-income Southeast Asian nation with significant cultural divergence from Western countries. In contrast to most cross-sectional studies that have found positive or non-significant correlations, in the present study delay discounting at Time 1 had a negative beta with anxiety and depression symptoms at Time 1, with preference for immediate but smaller rewards (higher discounting) at Time 1 associated with lower anxiety and depression symptoms at Time 2. These results suggest that under certain circumstances, steeper delay discounting may be adaptive and supportive of emotional mental health.